The Western Influence Showing On As IIT Alumni In The US Decides To Take Dow Chemicals As Sponsors For Their 50th Alumni Meet At The US

By Arunava Das

(In response to an article, “IITians say no to Dow” published in Silicon India on July 15, 2008)

It is really a shameful act of blemishes committed by a host of IIT’ians at the US to invite Dow Chemicals as sponsors for their upcoming 50th Alumni Meet in the country. As far as I know and everybody will agree that to get into any one of the IIT is a big ask which requires umpteen dedication towards studies and those who eventually get into are considered the gems of the country. As gems of the country, we have responsibilities on our shoulders, we Indians rest our hopes on them that they graduate with flying colors and bring name and fame to the country. India shines with them. India’s economy grows with them as she finds a place in the global economy chart. No doubt the past decade has seen a real bloom in Indian economy and will continue to bloom this way as it heads towards the future. We are one of the few countries with China who has the youngest pool source of youth who are considered to contribute big time to the country’s growth, be it economy, politics, industry, finance, revenue, foreign trade, healthcare sector, hospitality sector or retail sector. Hence, as responsible citizens of India, we need to refrain from acts that can harm the Indian policy and the fame that India is a proud owner of.

United Carbide is one such company that will remain etched in the history books as being responsible for one of the worst industrial tragedies of all time, The Bhopal Gas Tragedy that took place on the fateful night of December 3, 1984 that left 3800 people dead and thousand affected of the gas leak. Many are suffering still now and many have not even got justice till date. The Dow Chemicals now owns Union Carbide. Under such circumstances, when IITians in India have already rejected either campus recruitment or call for sponsors from Dow Chemicals, the India based IITians would have expected their states based counterparts to also follow the suit but instead they were in with a sudden shock and surprise as they discovered that their counterparts in the US have infact endorsed Dow Chemicals as the sponsors of their 50th Alumni Meet Golden Jubilee function which will be organized under the aegis of IIT-Bombay Heritage Fund in New York between July 18-20. This shows that once we leave our motherland for a career in the western world, we also leave behind our cultural heritage in India. According to a Mumbai based IIT-Bombay alumni, Mr. Janak Daftari, a group of IIT-B alumni, mostly from Silicon Valley, in total disregard to the sentiments and the callous practices being followed by the firm (Dow Chemicals) in their (alumini’s) origin country, has gone ahead and under the aegis of IIT-Bombay Heritage Fund are organizing a two-day golden jubilee function in New York between July 18-20. Following this incident, many IIT alumni including faculty and current students in India have decided to boycott the grand event. Another Delhi based IITian, Ravi Kuchimanchi, said, “In 1984 when the gas leaked in Bhopal, I and other students in IIT-Bombay were shocked and angry. Today I am shocked to see, instead of forcing Dow to fork up money and clean up the Bhopal site, the organisers of the 50th anniversary celebrations have sought its money. As IIT alumni we can do better.”

It needs to be seen now whether the event goes on smoothly and how many alumni attend the meet. According to ex IIT-B, Janak Daftari, “Obviously, the golden jubilee celebration is being done privately but then there is a tacit approval from the senior administrators. After all they are seriously contemplating to attend the event even though scores of faculty members have opposed the sponsorship itself.” However, it would be better as to see that such blemishes do not occur again as this tarnishes the global image of India and as the responsible gems of the country, we need to respect our identity.

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